Veterinary Oncology
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Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. It is found in animals as well as humans. There are many different types of cancer that are found in animals, symptoms are often similar to those in people (eg. abnormal swelling, unexplained weight loss, lethargy / reluctance to exercise etc). Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in companion animals such as dogs and cats, it is particularly common in animals that live 10 years or longer. If treatment is appropriate this may include chemotherapy and surgery or radiotherapy.

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Veterinary Oncology Links
Recent Publications

Veterinary Oncology Links (11 links)

Recent Publications

Elliker KR, Sommerville BA, Broom DM, et al.
Key considerations for the experimental training and evaluation of cancer odour detection dogs: lessons learnt from a double-blind, controlled trial of prostate cancer detection.
BMC Urol. 2014; 14:22 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cancer detection using sniffer dogs is a potential technology for clinical use and research. Our study sought to determine whether dogs could be trained to discriminate the odour of urine from men with prostate cancer from controls, using rigorous testing procedures and well-defined samples from a major research hospital.
METHODS: We attempted to train ten dogs by initially rewarding them for finding and indicating individual prostate cancer urine samples (Stage 1). If dogs were successful in Stage 1, we then attempted to train them to discriminate prostate cancer samples from controls (Stage 2). The number of samples used to train each dog varied depending on their individual progress. Overall, 50 unique prostate cancer and 67 controls were collected and used during training. Dogs that passed Stage 2 were tested for their ability to discriminate 15 (Test 1) or 16 (Tests 2 and 3) unfamiliar prostate cancer samples from 45 (Test 1) or 48 (Tests 2 and 3) unfamiliar controls under double-blind conditions.
RESULTS: Three dogs reached training Stage 2 and two of these learnt to discriminate potentially familiar prostate cancer samples from controls. However, during double-blind tests using new samples the two dogs did not indicate prostate cancer samples more frequently than expected by chance (Dog A sensitivity 0.13, specificity 0.71, Dog B sensitivity 0.25, specificity 0.75). The other dogs did not progress past Stage 1 as they did not have optimal temperaments for the sensitive odour discrimination training.
CONCLUSIONS: Although two dogs appeared to have learnt to select prostate cancer samples during training, they did not generalise on a prostate cancer odour during robust double-blind tests involving new samples. Our study illustrates that these rigorous tests are vital to avoid drawing misleading conclusions about the abilities of dogs to indicate certain odours. Dogs may memorise the individual odours of large numbers of training samples rather than generalise on a common odour. The results do not exclude the possibility that dogs could be trained to detect prostate cancer. We recommend that canine olfactory memory is carefully considered in all future studies and rigorous double-blind methods used to avoid confounding effects.

Related: Prostate Cancer

Scharf VF, Farese JP, Siemann DW, et al.
Effects of aurothiomalate treatment on canine osteosarcoma in a murine xenograft model.
Anticancer Drugs. 2014; 25(3):332-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Osteosarcoma is a highly fatal cancer, with most patients ultimately succumbing to metastatic disease. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of the antirheumatoid drug aurothiomalate on canine and human osteosarcoma cells and on canine osteosarcoma growth and metastasis in a mouse xenograft model. We hypothesized that aurothiomalate would decrease osteosarcoma cell survival, tumor cellular proliferation, tumor growth, and metastasis. After performing clonogenic assays, aurothiomalate or a placebo was administered to 54 mice inoculated with canine osteosarcoma. Survival, tumor growth, embolization, metastasis, histopathology, cell proliferation marker Ki67, and apoptosis marker caspase-3 were compared between groups. Statistical analysis was carried out using the Kaplan-Meier method with the log-rank test and one-way analysis of variance with the Tukey's test or Dunn's method. Aurothiomalate caused dose-dependent inhibition of osteosarcoma cell survival (P<0.001) and decreased tumor growth (P<0.001). Pulmonary macrometastasis and Ki67 labeling were reduced with low-dose aurothiomalate (P=0.033 and 0.005, respectively), and tumor emboli and pulmonary micrometastases were decreased with high-dose aurothiomalate (P=0.010 and 0.011, respectively). There was no difference in survival, tumor development, ulceration, mitotic indices, tumor necrosis, nonpulmonary metastases, and caspase-3 labeling. Aurothiomalate treatment inhibited osteosarcoma cell survival and reduced tumor cell proliferation, growth, embolization, and pulmonary metastasis. Given aurothiomalate's established utility in canine and human medicine, our results suggest that this compound may hold promise as an adjunctive therapy for osteosarcoma. Further translational research is warranted to better characterize the dose response of canine and human osteosarcoma to aurothiomalate.

Related: Apoptosis Bone Cancers MKI67 Osteosarcoma

Nielsen CE, Wang X, Robinson RJ, et al.
Carcinogenic and inflammatory effects of plutonium-nitrate retention in an exposed nuclear worker and beagle dogs.
Int J Radiat Biol. 2014; 90(1):60-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Plutonium-nitrate has a moderately rapid translocation rate from the lung to blood stream. Previous studies have shown an unexpected retention of soluble plutonium in the beagles and human case studied here. The inflammatory responses that may be associated with long-term exposure to ionizing radiation were characterized. These pathways include tissue injury, apoptosis, and gene expression modifications. Other protein modifications related to carcinogenesis and inflammation and the various factors that may play a role in orchestrating complex interactions which influence tissue integrity following irradiation were investigated.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We have examined numerous lung samples from a plutonium-exposed worker, a human control, and a variety of plutonium-exposed beagle dogs using immunohistochemistry and quantitative Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR).
RESULTS: The exposed human showed interstitial fibrosis in peripheral regions of the lung, but no pulmonary tumors. Beagles with similar doses were diagnosed with tumors in bronchiolo-alveolar, peripheral and sub-pleural alveolar regions of the lung. The terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay showed an elevation of apoptosis in tracheal mucosa, tumor cells, and nuclear debris in the alveoli and lymph nodes of the beagles but not in the human case. In both the beagles and human there were statistically significant modifications in the expression of Fas ligand (FASLG), B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2), and Caspase 3 (CASP3).
CONCLUSIONS: The data suggests that FASLG, BCL2, CASP3 and apoptosis play a role in the inflammatory responses following prolonged plutonium exposure. Utilizing these unique tissues revealed which pathways are triggered following the internal deposition and long-term retention of plutonium-nitrate in a human and a large animal model.

Yamazaki H, Takagi S, Hoshino Y, et al.
Inhibition of survivin influences the biological activities of canine histiocytic sarcoma cell lines.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(11):e79810 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Canine histiocytic sarcoma (CHS) is an aggressive malignant neoplasm that originates from histiocytic lineage cells, including dendritic cells and macrophages, and is characterized by progressive local infiltration and a very high metastatic potential. Survivin is as an apoptotic inhibitory factor that has major functions in cell proliferation, including inhibition of apoptosis and regulation of cell division, and is expressed in most types of human and canine malignant neoplasms, including melanoma and osteosarcoma. To investigate whether survivin was expressed at high levels in CHS and whether its expression was correlated with the aggressive biological behavior of CHS, we assessed relation between survivin expression and CHS progression, as well as the effects of survivin inhibition on the biological activities of CHS cells. We comparatively analyzed the expression of 6 selected anti-apoptotic genes, including survivin, in specimens from 30 dogs with histiocytic sarcoma and performed annexin V staining to evaluate apoptosis, methylthiazole tetrazolium assays to assess cell viability and chemosensitivity, and latex bead assays to measure changes in phagocytic activities in 4 CHS cell lines and normal canine fibroblasts transfected with survivin siRNA. Survivin gene expression levels in 30 specimens were significantly higher than those of the other 6 genes. After transfection with survivin siRNA, apoptosis, cell growth inhibition, enhanced chemosensitivity, and weakened phagocytic activities were observed in all CHS cell lines. In contrast, normal canine fibroblasts were not significantly affected by survivin knockdown. These results suggested that survivin expression may mediate the aggressive biological activities of CHS and that survivin may be an effective therapeutic target for the treatment of CHS.

Related: Apoptosis

Pillai A, Moghe S, Gupta MK, Pathak A
A complex odontoma of the anterior maxilla associated with an erupting canine.
BMJ Case Rep. 2013; 2013 [PubMed] Related Publications
Many developmental anomalies of the jaw are accidentally diagnosed during radiographic investigations for other symptoms. Complex odontomas are odontogenic tumours, relatively rare in the anterior maxilla and generally asymptomatic. Frequently the odontoma may interfere with the eruption of teeth. This paper describes a case of complex odontoma in an 8-year-old girl, which resulted in the palatal displacement of the lateral incisor and an erupting permanent canine. A calcified mass was seen on the radiograph and was provisionally diagnosed as an odontoma which was surgically enucleated. Routine follow-up was carried out for more than 1 year and no recurrence was seen.

Pratschke KM, Atherton MJ, Sillito JA, Lamm CG
Evaluation of a modified proportional margins approach for surgical resection of mast cell tumors in dogs: 40 cases (2008-2012).
J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2013; 243(10):1436-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate a modified proportional margins approach to resection of mast cell tumors (MCTs) in dogs.
DESIGN: Retrospective case series.
ANIMALS: 40 dogs with subcutaneous and cutaneous MCTs undergoing curative intent surgery.
PROCEDURES: Medical records were searched to identify dogs with a cytologically or histologically confirmed diagnosis of MCT that had not previously been treated surgically and that had undergone full oncological staging. In those dogs, tumors were resected with lateral margins equivalent to the widest measured diameter of the tumor and a minimum depth of 1 well-defined fascial plane deep to the tumor. Surgical margins were evaluated histologically. Cutaneous tumors were graded by use of the Patnaik system and the 2-tier system described by Kiupel et al. The prognosis for subcutaneous tumors was assessed in accordance with published recommendations. Follow-up information on dog health status was obtained through clinical examination, the dog owners, and the referring veterinarians.
RESULTS: The 40 dogs had 47 tumors. Forty-one (87%) tumors were cutaneous, and 6 (13%) were subcutaneous. On the basis of the Patnaik system, 21 (51%) cutaneous tumors were considered grade I, 18 (44%) were considered grade II, and 2 (5%) were considered grade III. On the basis of the Kiupel system, 37 (90%) cutaneous tumors were considered low grade, and 4 (10%) were considered high grade. The prognosis for the 6 subcutaneous tumors was classified as likely resulting in a shorter (2) or longer (4) survival time. Forty tumors were deemed to have been excised with clear margins and 7 with incomplete margins. Local recurrence was not recorded for any dog but was suspected for 1 (2%) tumor, although not confirmed. Interval from tumor excision to follow-up ranged from 30 to 1,140 days (median, 420 days).
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The modified proportional margins system resulted in satisfactory local disease control in dogs with MCTs.

Related: Skin Cancer

Debinski W, Dickinson P, Rossmeisl JH, et al.
New agents for targeting of IL-13RA2 expressed in primary human and canine brain tumors.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(10):e77719 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Interleukin 13 receptor alpha 2 (IL-13RA2) is over-expressed in a vast majority of human patients with high-grade astrocytomas like glioblastoma. Spontaneous astrocytomas in dogs resemble human disease and have been proposed as translational model system for investigation of novel therapeutic strategies for brain tumors. We have generated reagents for both detection and therapeutic targeting of IL-13RA2 in human and canine brain tumors. Peptides from three different regions of IL-13RA2 with 100% sequence identity between human and canine receptors were used as immunogens for generation of monoclonal antibodies. Recombinant canine mutant IL-13 (canIL-13.E13K) and canIL-13.E13K based cytotoxin were also produced. The antibodies were examined for their immunoreactivities in western blots, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence and cell binding assays using human and canine tumor specimen sections, tissue lysates and established cell lines; the cytotoxin was tested for specific cell killing. Several isolated MAbs were immunoreactive to IL-13RA2 in western blots of cell and tissue lysates from glioblastomas from both human and canine patients. Human and canine astrocytomas and oligodendrogliomas were also positive for IL-13RA2 to various degrees. Interestingly, both human and canine meningiomas also exhibited strong reactivity. Normal human and canine brain samples were virtually negative for IL-13RA2 using the newly generated MAbs. MAb 1E10B9 uniquely worked on tissue specimens and western blots, bound live cells and was internalized in GBM cells over-expressing IL-13RA2. The canIL-13.E13K cytotoxin was very potent and specific in killing canine GBM cell lines. Thus, we have obtained several monoclonal antibodies against IL-13RA2 cross-reacting with human and canine receptors. In addition to GBM, other brain tumors, such as high grade oligodendrogliomas, meningiomas and canine choroid plexus papillomas, appear to express the receptor at high levels and thus may be appropriate candidates for IL-13RA2-targeted imaging/therapies. Canine spontaneous primary brain tumors represent an excellent translational model for human counterparts.

Related: Monoclonal Antibodies

Simpson RM, Bastian BC, Michael HT, et al.
Sporadic naturally occurring melanoma in dogs as a preclinical model for human melanoma.
Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2014; 27(1):37-47 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2015 Related Publications
Melanoma represents a significant malignancy in humans and dogs. Different from genetically engineered models, sporadic canine melanocytic neoplasms share several characteristics with human disease that could make dogs a more relevant preclinical model. Canine melanomas rarely arise in sun-exposed sites. Most occur in the oral cavity, with a subset having intra-epithelial malignant melanocytes mimicking the in situ component of human mucosal melanoma. The spectrum of canine melanocytic neoplasia includes benign lesions with some analogy to nevi, as well as invasive primary melanoma, and widespread metastasis. Growing evidence of distinct subtypes in humans, differing in somatic and predisposing germ-line genetic alterations, cell of origin, epidemiology, relationship to ultraviolet radiation and progression from benign to malignant tumors, may also exist in dogs. Canine and human mucosal melanomas appear to harbor BRAF, NRAS, and c-kit mutations uncommonly, compared with human cutaneous melanomas, although both species share AKT and MAPK signaling activation. We conclude that there is significant overlap in the clinical and histopathological features of canine and human mucosal melanomas. This represents opportunity to explore canine oral cavity melanoma as a preclinical model.

Related: Melanoma Oral Cancer Skin Cancer

Gillard M, Cadieu E, De Brito C, et al.
Naturally occurring melanomas in dogs as models for non-UV pathways of human melanomas.
Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2014; 27(1):90-102 [PubMed] Related Publications
Spontaneously occurring melanomas are frequent in dogs. They appear at the same localizations as in humans, i.e. skin, mucosal sites, nail matrix and eyes. They display variable behaviors: tumors at oral localizations are more frequent and aggressive than at other anatomical sites. Interestingly, dog melanomas are associated with strong breed predispositions and overrepresentation of black-coated dogs. Epidemiological analysis of 2350 affected dogs showed that poodles are at high risk of developing oral melanoma, while schnauzers or Beauce shepherds mostly developped cutaneous melanoma. Clinical and histopathological analyses were performed on a cohort of 153 cases with a 4-yr follow-up. Histopathological characterization showed that most canine tumors are intradermal and homologous to human rare morphological melanomas types - 'nevocytoid type' and 'animal type'-. Tumor cDNA sequencing data, obtained from 95 dogs for six genes, relevant to human melanoma classification, detected somatic mutations in oral melanoma, in NRAS and PTEN genes, at human hotspot sites, but not in BRAF. Altogether, these findings support the relevance of the dog model for comparative oncology of melanomas, especially for the elucidation of non-UV induced pathways.

Related: Melanoma Oral Cancer

Hwang CC, Umeki S, Kubo M, et al.
Oncolytic reovirus in canine mast cell tumor.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(9):e73555 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2015 Related Publications
The usage of reovirus has reached phase II and III clinical trials in human cancers. However, this is the first study to report the oncolytic effects of reovirus in veterinary oncology, focusing on canine mast cell tumor (MCT), the most common cutaneous tumor in dogs. As human and canine cancers share many similarities, we hypothesized that the oncolytic effects of reovirus can be exploited in canine cancers. The objective of this study was to determine the oncolytic effects of reovirus in canine MCT in vitro, in vivo and ex vivo. We demonstrated that MCT cell lines were highly susceptible to reovirus as indicated by marked cell death, high production of progeny virus and virus replication. Reovirus induced apoptosis in the canine MCT cell lines with no correlation to their Ras activation status. In vivo studies were conducted using unilateral and bilateral subcutaneous MCT xenograft models with a single intratumoral reovirus treatment and apparent reduction of tumor mass was exhibited. Furthermore, cell death was induced by reovirus in primary canine MCT samples in vitro. However, canine and murine bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMCMC) were also susceptible to reovirus. The combination of these results supports the potential value of reovirus as a therapy in canine MCT but warrants further investigation on the determinants of reovirus susceptibility.

Related: Apoptosis

Mudaliar MA, Haggart RD, Miele G, et al.
Comparative gene expression profiling identifies common molecular signatures of NF-κB activation in canine and human diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL).
PLoS One. 2013; 8(9):e72591 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2015 Related Publications
We present the first comparison of global transcriptional changes in canine and human diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), with particular reference to the nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) pathway. Microarray data generated from canine DLBCL and normal lymph nodes were used for differential expression, co-expression and pathway analyses, and compared with analysis of microarray data from human healthy and DLBCL lymph nodes. The comparisons at gene level were performed by mapping the probesets in canine microarrays to orthologous genes in humans and vice versa. A considerable number of differentially expressed genes between canine lymphoma and healthy lymph node samples were also found differentially expressed between human DLBCL and healthy lymph node samples. Principal component analysis using a literature-derived NF-κB target gene set mapped to orthologous canine array probesets and human array probesets clearly separated the healthy and cancer samples in both datasets. The analysis demonstrated that for both human and canine DLBCL there is activation of the NF-κB/p65 canonical pathway, indicating that canine lymphoma could be used as a model to study NF-κB-targeted therapeutics for human lymphoma. To validate this, tissue arrays were generated for canine and human NHL and immunohistochemistry was employed to assess NF-κB activation status. In addition, human and canine B-cell lymphoma lines were assessed for NF-κB activity and the effects of NF-κB inhibition.

Wiese DA, Thaiwong T, Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan V, Kiupel M
Feline mammary basal-like adenocarcinomas: a potential model for human triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) with basal-like subtype.
BMC Cancer. 2013; 13:403 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), an immunophenotype defined by the absence of immunolabeling for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and HER2 protein, has a highly aggressive behavior. A subpopulation of TNBCs exhibit a basal-like morphology with immunohistochemical positivity for cytokeratins 5/6 (CK5/6) and/or epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and have a high incidence of BRCA (breast cancer susceptibility) mutations. Feline mammary adenocarcinomas (FMAs) are highly malignant and share a similar basal-like subtype. The purpose of this study was to classify FMAs according to the current human classification of breast cancer that includes evaluation of ER, PR and HER2 status and expression of basal CK 5/6 and EGFR. Furthermore, we selected triple negative, basal-like FMAs to screen for BRCA mutations similar to those described in human TNBC.
METHODS: Twenty four FMAs were classified according to the current human histologic breast cancer classification including immunohistochemistry (IHC) for ER, PR HER2, CK5/6 and EGFR. Genetic alteration and loss of heterozygosity of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes were analyzed in triple negative, basal-like FMAs.
RESULTS: IHC for ER, PR and HER2 identified 14 of the 24 (58%) FMAs as a triple negative. Furthermore, 11 of these 14 (79%) triple negative FMAs had a basal-like subtype. However, no genetic abnormalities were detected in BRCA1 and BRCA2 by direct sequencing and loss of heterozygosity analysis.
CONCLUSION: FMAs are highly aggressive neoplasms that are commonly triple negative and exhibit a basal-like morphology. This is similar to human TNBC that are also commonly classified as a basal-like subtype. While sequencing of a select number of triple negative, basal-like FMAs and testing for loss of heterozygosity of BRCA1 and BRCA2 did not identify mutations similar to those described in human TNBC, further in-depth evaluation is required to elucidate a potential role of BRCA in the tumorigenesis of triple negative, basal-like FMAs. The strong similarities in clinical behavior, morphology and IHC phenotype suggest that triple negative, basal-like FMAs may be a suitable spontaneous animal model for studying novel therapeutic approaches against human basal-like TNBC.

Related: BRCA1 BRCA2

Condiotti R, Goldenberg D, Giladi H, et al.
Transduction of fetal mice with a feline lentiviral vector induces liver tumors which exhibit an E2F activation signature.
Mol Ther. 2014; 22(1):59-68 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2015 Related Publications
Lentiviral vectors are widely used in basic research and clinical applications for gene transfer and long-term expression; however, safety issues have not yet been completely resolved. In this study, we characterized hepatocarcinomas that developed in mice 1 year after in utero administration of a feline-derived lentiviral vector. Mapped viral integration sites differed among tumors and did not coincide with the regions of chromosomal aberrations. Furthermore, gene expression profiling revealed that no known cancer-associated genes were deregulated in the vicinity of viral integrations. Nevertheless, five of the six tumors exhibited highly significant upregulation of E2F target genes, of which a majority are associated with oncogenesis, DNA damage response, and chromosomal instability. We further show in vivo and in vitro that E2F activation occurs early on following transduction of both fetal mice and cultured human hepatocytes. On the basis of the similarities in E2F target gene expression patterns among tumors and the lack of evidence implicating insertional mutagenesis, we propose that transduction of fetal mice with a feline lentiviral vector induces E2F-mediated major cellular processes that drive hepatocytes toward uncontrolled proliferation culminating in tumorigenesis.

Related: Liver Cancer

Horvath G, Andersson H, Nemes S
Cancer odor in the blood of ovarian cancer patients: a retrospective study of detection by dogs during treatment, 3 and 6 months afterward.
BMC Cancer. 2013; 13:396 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In recent decades it has been noted that trained dogs can detect specific odor molecules emitted by cancer cells. We have shown that the same odor can also be detected in the patient's blood with high sensitivity and specificity by trained dogs. In the present study, we examined how the ability of dogs to detect this smell was affected by treatment to reduce tumor burden, including surgery and five courses of chemotherapy.
METHODS: In Series I, one drop of plasma from each of 42 ovarian cancer patients (taken between the fifth and sixth courses of chemotherapy) and 210 samples from healthy controls were examined by two trained dogs. All 42 patients in Series I had clinical complete responses, all except two had normal CA-125 values and all were declared healthy after primary treatment. In Series II, the dogs examined blood taken from a new subset of 10 patients at 3 and 6 months after the last (sixth) course of chemotherapy.
RESULTS: In Series I, the dogs showed high sensitivity (97%) and specificity (99%), for detecting viable cancer cells or molecular cancer markers in the patients' plasma. Indeed, 29 of 42 patients died within 5 years. In Series II, the dogs indicated positive samples from three of the 10 patients at both the 3- and 6-month follow-up. All three patients had recurrences, and two died 3-4 years after the end of treatment. This was one of the most important findings of this study. Seven patients were still alive in January 2013.
CONCLUSIONS: Although our study was based on a limited number of selected patients, it clearly suggests that canine detection gave us a very good assessment of the prognosis of the study patients. Being able to detect a marker based on the specific cancer odor in the blood would enhance primary diagnosis and enable earlier relapse diagnosis, consequently increasing survival.

Related: Ovarian Cancer

Ito J, Watanabe S, Hiratsuka T, et al.
Refrex-1, a soluble restriction factor against feline endogenous and exogenous retroviruses.
J Virol. 2013; 87(22):12029-40 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2015 Related Publications
The host defense against viral infection is acquired during the coevolution or symbiosis of the host and pathogen. Several cellular factors that restrict retroviral infection have been identified in the hosts. Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is a gammaretrovirus that is classified into several receptor interference groups, including a novel FeLV-subgroup D (FeLV-D) that we recently identified. FeLV-D is generated by transduction of the env gene of feline endogenous gammaretrovirus of the domestic cat (ERV-DCs) into FeLV. Some ERV-DCs are replication competent viruses which are present and hereditary in cats. We report here the determination of new viral receptor interference groups and the discovery of a soluble antiretroviral factor, termed Refrex-1. Detailed analysis of FeLV-D strains and ERV-DCs showed two receptor interference groups that are distinct from other FeLV subgroups, and Refrex-1 specifically inhibited one of them. Refrex-1 is characterized as a truncated envelope protein of ERV-DC and includes the N-terminal region of surface unit, which is a putative receptor-binding domain, but lacks the transmembrane region. Refrex-1 is efficiently secreted from the cells and appears to cause receptor interference extracellularly. Two variants of Refrex-1 encoded by provirus loci, ERV-DC7 and DC16, are expressed in a broad range of feline tissues. The host retains Refrex-1 as an antiretroviral factor, which may potentially prevent reemergence of the ERVs and the emergence of novel ERV-related viruses in cats. Refrex-1 may have been acquired during endogenization of ERV-DCs and may play an important role in retroviral restriction and antiviral defense in cats.

Fukumoto S, Hanazono K, Fu DR, et al.
A new treatment for human malignant melanoma targeting L-type amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1): a pilot study in a canine model.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013; 439(1):103-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
L-type amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1), an isoform of amino acid transport system L, transports branched or aromatic amino acids essential for fundamental cellular activities such as cellular growth, proliferation and maintenance. This amino acid transporter recently has received attention because of its preferential and up-regulated expression in a variety of human tumors in contrast to its limited distribution and low-level expression in normal tissues. In this study, we explored the feasibility of using LAT1 inhibitor as a new therapeutic agent for human malignant melanomas (MM) using canine spontaneous MM as a model for human MM. A comparative study of LAT expression was performed in 48 normal tissues, 25MM tissues and five cell lines established from MM. The study observed LAT1 mRNA levels from MM tissues and cell lines that were significantly (P<0.01) higher than in normal tissues. Additionally, MM with distant metastasis showed a higher expression than those without distant metastasis. Functional analysis of LAT1 was performed on one of the five cell lines, CMeC-1. [(3)H]l-Leucine uptake and cellular growth activities in CMeC-1 were inhibited in a dose-dependent manner by selective LAT1 inhibitors (2-amino-2-norbornane-carboxylic acid, BCH and melphalan, LPM). Inhibitory growth activities of various conventional anti-cancer drugs, including carboplatin, cyclophosphamide, dacarbazine, doxorubicin, mitoxantrone, nimustine, vinblastine and vincristine, were significantly (P<0.05) enhanced by combination use with BCH or LPM. These findings suggest that LAT1 could be a new therapeutic target for MM.

Related: Melanoma Melphalan

Shafiee R, Javanbakht J, Atyabi N, et al.
Comparative value of clinical, cytological, and histopathological features in feline mammary gland tumors; an experimental model for the study of human breast cancer.
Diagn Pathol. 2013; 8:136 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The diagnosis of breast lesions is usually confirmed by fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) or histological biopsy. Although there is increasing literature regarding the advantages and limitations of both modalities, there is no literature regarding the accuracy of these modalities for diagnosing breast lesions in high-risk patients, who usually have lesions detected by screening. Moreover, few studies have been published regarding the cytopathology of mammary tumors in cats despite widespread use of the animal model for breast cancer formation and inhibition. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the diagnostic interest of cytological and histopathological analysis in feline mammary tumours (FMTs), in order to evaluate its possible value as an animal model.
METHODS: The study was performed in 3 female cats submitted to surgical resections of mammary tumours. The mammary tumours were excised by simple mastectomy or regional mastectomy, with or without the superficial inguinal lymph nodes. Female cats were of different breeds (1 siamese and 2 persians). Before surgical excision of the tumour, FNA cytology was performed using a 0.4 mm diameter needle attached to a 8 ml syringe held in a standard metal syringe holder. The cytological sample was smeared onto a glass slide and either air-dried for May-Grünwald-stain and masses were surgically removed, the tumours were grossly examined and tissue samples were fixed in 10%-buffered-formalin and embedded in paraffin. Sections 4 μm thick were obtained from each sample and H&E stained.
RESULTS: Cytologically, atypical epithelial cells coupled to giant nucleus, chromatin anomalies, mitotic figures, spindle shape cells, anisocytosis with anisokaryosis and hyperchromasia were found. Histologically, these tumors are characterized by pleomorphic and polygonal cell population together with mitotic figures, necrotic foci and various numbers inflammatory foci. Also, spindle shaped cells, haemorrhage localized in the different regions, local invasiveness and enlarged nuclei were observed. The samples included 3 tumors of mammary glands mammary tumors were complex carcinomas (n = 2) and adenocarcinoma (n = 1). The histological grades of the 3 cases were as follows: grade II, (1/3); grade III, (2/3) with high mitotic index. The preferential localization of mammary neoplasms was in the inguinal lobe (1/3 case) and abdominal lobes (2/3 cases). Furthermore, 1case of the inguinal mass affected the left caudo-inguinal lobe and 2cases right cranio and caudo abdominal lobes.
CONCLUSION: The study concluded that cytology could be used as a quick, rapid, field diagnostic technique in combination with histopathology for the diagnosis of feline mammary tumors (FMTs). Our findings in feline MTs indicate that FMTs could be useful as an animal model of human breast cancer. Moreover, because of the similarity of the cytohistopathological findings in the human and feline mammary gland tumours, it is possible to use the same cytopathological criteria applied in human pathology for the diagnosis of feline mammary gland tumours.
VIRTUAL SLIDE: The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here:

Boerkamp KM, van der Kooij M, van Steenbeek FG, et al.
Gene expression profiling of histiocytic sarcomas in a canine model: the predisposed flatcoated retriever dog.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(8):e71094 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The determination of altered expression of genes in specific tumor types and their effect upon cellular processes may create insight in tumorigenesis and help to design better treatments. The Flatcoated retriever is a dog breed with an exceptionally high incidence of histiocytic sarcomas. The breed develops two distinct entities of histiocytic neoplasia, a soft tissue form and a visceral form. Gene expression studies of these tumors have value for comparable human diseases such as histiocytic/dendritic cell sarcoma for which knowledge is difficult to accrue due to their rare occurrence. In addition, such studies may help in the search for genetic aberrations underlying the genetic predisposition in this dog breed.
METHODS: Microarray analysis and pathway analyses were performed on fresh-frozen tissues obtained from Flatcoated retrievers with localized, soft tissue histiocytic sarcomas (STHS) and disseminated, visceral histiocytic sarcomas (VHS) and on normal canine spleens from various breeds. Expression differences of nine genes were validated with quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) analyses.
RESULTS: QPCR analyses identified the significantly altered expression of nine genes; PPBP, SpiC, VCAM1, ENPEP, ITGAD (down-regulated), and GTSF1, Col3a1, CD90 and LUM (up-regulated) in the comparison of both the soft tissue and the visceral form with healthy spleen. DAVID pathway analyses revealed 24 pathways that were significantly involved in the development of HS in general, most of which were involved in the DNA repair and replication process.
CONCLUSIONS: This study identified altered expression of nine genes not yet implicated in histiocytic sarcoma manifestations in the dog nor in comparable human histiocytic/dendritic sarcomas. Exploration of the downside effect of canine inbreeding strategies for the study of similar sarcomas in humans might also lead to the identification of genes related to these rare malignancies in the human.

Gupta SC, Sung B, Prasad S, et al.
Cancer drug discovery by repurposing: teaching new tricks to old dogs.
Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2013; 34(9):508-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
Progressively increasing failure rates, high cost, poor bioavailability, poor safety, limited efficacy, and a lengthy design and testing process associated with cancer drug development have necessitated alternative approaches to drug discovery. Exploring established non-cancer drugs for anticancer activity provides an opportunity rapidly to advance therapeutic strategies into clinical trials. The impetus for development of cancer therapeutics from non-cancer drugs stems from the fact that different diseases share common molecular pathways and targets in the cell. Common molecular origins of diverse diseases have been discovered through advancements in genomics, proteomics, and informatics technologies, as well as through the development of analytical tools that allow researchers simultaneously to screen large numbers of existing drugs against a particular disease target. Thus, drugs originally identified as antitussive, sedative, analgesic, antipyretic, antiarthritic, anesthetic, antidiabetic, muscle relaxant, immunosuppressant, antibiotic, antiepileptic, cardioprotective, antihypertensive, erectile function enhancing, or angina relieving are being repurposed for cancer. This review describes the repurposing of these drugs for cancer treatment.

Related: Cancer Prevention and Risk Reduction

Fukumoto S, Hanazono K, Komatsu T, et al.
L-type amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1): a new therapeutic target for canine mammary gland tumour.
Vet J. 2013; 198(1):164-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
L-type amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1), an isoform of amino acid transport system L, transports branched or aromatic amino acids essential for fundamental cellular activities, such as cellular growth, proliferation and maintenance. LAT1 has recently received attention because of its preferential and upregulated expression in a variety of human tumours which is in contrast to its limited distribution and low-level expression in normal tissues. In this study, the feasibility of using an LAT1 inhibitor as a new therapeutic agent was explored for mammary gland tumours (MGT). [(3)H]l-leucine uptake by CHM, a cell line established from MGT, and effects on cell growth were analysed in the presence or absence of two LAT1 inhibitors, namely, BCH (2-amino-2-norbornane-carboxylic acids) or melphalan (LPM). [(3)H]l-leucine uptake and cellular growth activities in CHM were inhibited in a dose-dependent manner by both LAT1 inhibitors. The inhibitory growth activities of various conventional anti-cancer drugs used for MGT treatment, including carboplatin, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, mitoxantrone, vinblastine and vincristine, were significantly enhanced by combining use with BCH or LPM. The findings suggest that LAT1 could be a new therapeutic target for canine MGT.

Related: Melphalan

Andersen NJ, Nickoloff BJ, Dykema KJ, et al.
Pharmacologic inhibition of MEK signaling prevents growth of canine hemangiosarcoma.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2013; 12(9):1701-14 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2015 Related Publications
Angiosarcoma is a rare neoplasm of endothelial origin that has limited treatment options and poor five-year survival. As a model for human angiosarcoma, we studied primary cells and tumorgrafts derived from canine hemangiosarcoma (HSA), which is also an endothelial malignancy with similar presentation and histology. Primary cells isolated from HSA showed constitutive extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activation. The mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MEK) inhibitor CI-1040 reduced ERK activation and the viability of primary cells derived from visceral, cutaneous, and cardiac HSA in vitro. HSA-derived primary cells were also sensitive to sorafenib, an inhibitor of B-Raf and multireceptor tyrosine kinases. In vivo, CI-1040 or PD0325901 decreased the growth of cutaneous cell-derived xenografts and cardiac-derived tumorgrafts. Sorafenib decreased tumor size in both in vivo models, although cardiac tumorgrafts were more sensitive. In human angiosarcoma, we noted that 50% of tumors stained positively for phosphorylated ERK1/2 and that the expression of several MEK-responsive transcription factors was upregulated. Our data showed that MEK signaling is essential for the growth of HSA in vitro and in vivo and provided evidence that the same pathways are activated in human angiosarcoma. This indicates that MEK inhibitors may form part of an effective therapeutic strategy for the treatment of canine HSA or human angiosarcoma, and it highlights the use of spontaneous canine cancers as a model of human disease.

Related: Signal Transduction Sorafenib (Nexavar)

Westberg S, Sadeghi A, Svensson E, et al.
Treatment efficacy and immune stimulation by AdCD40L gene therapy of spontaneous canine malignant melanoma.
J Immunother. 2013 Jul-Aug; 36(6):350-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Malignant melanoma is a serious disease in both humans and dogs, and the high metastatic potential results in poor prognosis for many patients. Its similarities with human melanoma make spontaneous canine melanoma an excellent model for comparative studies of novel therapies and tumor biology. We report a pilot study of local adenovector CD40L (AdCD40L) immunogene treatment in 19 cases of canine melanoma (14 oral, 4 cutaneous, and 1 conjunctival). Three patients were World Health Organization stage I, 2 were stage II, 10 stage III, and 4 stage IV. One to 6 intratumoral injections of AdCD40L were given every 7 days, followed by cytoreductive surgery in 9 cases and only immunotherapy in 10 cases. Tumor tissue was infiltrated with T and B lymphocytes after treatment, suggesting immune stimulation. The best overall response included 5 complete responses, 8 partial responses, and 4 stable and 2 progressive disease statuses according to the World Health Organization response criteria. Median survival was 160 days (range, 20-1141 d), with 3 dogs still alive at submission. Our results suggest that local AdCD40L therapy is safe and could have beneficial effects in dogs, supporting further treatment development. Clinical translation to human patients is in progress.

Related: Cytokines Melanoma

Richards KL, Motsinger-Reif AA, Chen HW, et al.
Gene profiling of canine B-cell lymphoma reveals germinal center and postgerminal center subtypes with different survival times, modeling human DLBCL.
Cancer Res. 2013; 73(16):5029-39 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2015 Related Publications
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common lymphoma subtype, and fewer than half of patients are cured with standard first-line therapy. To improve therapeutic options, better animal models that accurately mimic human DLBCL (hDLBCL) are needed. Canine DLBCL, one of the most common cancers in veterinary oncology, is morphologically similar to hDLBCL and is treated using similar chemotherapeutic protocols. With genomic technologies, it is now possible to molecularly evaluate dogs as a potential large-animal model for hDLBCL. We evaluated canine B-cell lymphomas (cBCL) using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and gene expression profiling. cBCL expression profiles were similar in many ways to hDLBCLs. For instance, a subset had increased expression of NF-κB pathway genes, mirroring human activated B-cell (ABC)-type DLBCL. Furthermore, immunoglobulin heavy chain ongoing mutation status, which is correlated with ABC/germinal center B-cell cell of origin in hDLBCL, separated cBCL into two groups with statistically different progression-free and overall survival times. In contrast with hDLBCL, cBCL rarely expressed BCL6 and MUM1/IRF4 by IHC. Collectively, these studies identify molecular similarities to hDLBCL that introduce pet dogs as a representative model of hDLBCL for future studies, including therapeutic clinical trials.

Related: BCL6 gene

Mendonça EF, Sousa TO, Estrela C
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the periapical region of a mandibular canine.
J Endod. 2013; 39(6):839-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Images and clinical characteristics of some lesions may lead to misinterpretations between diseases of endodontic and non-endodontic origin. Non-Hodgkin lymphomas occur in extranodal sites and may arise primarily in the oral cavity or jaws.
METHODS: A case of lymphoma associated with the roots of teeth #21-23 in a 38-year-old woman is described. The patient sought dental care because of continuous discomfort at palpation of the periapical area of teeth #21-23, which had been treated endodontically. Radiographic and clinical exams revealed no inflammatory signs. The patient reported losing 24 pounds in the last 2 months. Intraoral examination revealed an expansion of the buccal surface, a solid hard mass, and normal mucosa color.
RESULTS: Conventional radiographs showed a diffuse bone radiolucent area, and cone-beam computed tomography images confirmed destruction of the buccal cortical bone, which was suggestive of malignancy. Incisional biopsy was performed, and microscopy showed a lymphoproliferative lesion of uncertain nature with pleomorphic lymphocyte-like round cells, hyperchromatic nuclei, and atypical mitoses. Immunohistochemistry was used to investigate the nature of these cells and the type of lymphoproliferative disorder, and results showed an area of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
CONCLUSIONS: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma should be part of the differential diagnosis of other jaw lesions such as apical periodontitis. The patient was treated with chemotherapy and did not report any abnormalities after 2 years of treatment.

Leonardi L, Quattrini I, Roperto F, Benassi MS
Protease expression in giant cell tumour of bone: a comparative study on feline and human samples.
Res Vet Sci. 2013; 95(2):310-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
Human giant cell tumour of bone (GCTB) is a rare low grade of malignancy tumour with tendency to recur. During tumourigenesis the bone remodeling balance is subverted by the tumour cellular components that interacting with bone matrix induce release of growth factors and cytokines, promoting cell proliferation and bone resorption. The master regulators of this positive feed-back are acid and neutral proteases that destroying extracellular matrix increase osteolysis. In contrast, in cats, very few data are reported on GCTB biological activity. In this study, histological features and metalloproteinase (MMPs) and urokinase plasminogen activator system (uPA) expression were compared in human and feline GCTB and differences in distribution and intensity related to histological pattern and clinical behaviour were determined. In both species, the overexpression of these molecules suggested a strong and complex cross-talk between tumour and microenvironment.

Noguchi S, Mori T, Hoshino Y, et al.
MicroRNAs as tumour suppressors in canine and human melanoma cells and as a prognostic factor in canine melanomas.
Vet Comp Oncol. 2013; 11(2):113-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
Malignant melanoma (MM) is one of the most aggressive cancers in dogs and in humans. However, the molecular mechanisms of its development and progression remain unclear. Presently, we examined the expression profile of microRNAs (miRs) in canine oral MM tissues and paired normal oral mucosa tissues by using the microRNA-microarray assay and quantitative RT-PCR. Importantly, a decreased expression of miR-203 was significantly associated with a shorter survival time. Also, miR-203 and -205 were markedly down-regulated in canine and human MM cell lines tested. Furthermore, the ectopic expression of miR-205 had a significant inhibitory effect on the cell growth of canine and human melanoma cells tested by targeting erbb3. Our data suggest that miR-203 is a new prognostic factor in canine oral MMs and that miR-205 functions as a tumour suppressor by targeting erbb3 in both canine and human MM cells.

Related: Melanoma

Ranieri G, Gadaleta CD, Patruno R, et al.
A model of study for human cancer: Spontaneous occurring tumors in dogs. Biological features and translation for new anticancer therapies.
Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2013; 88(1):187-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
Murine cancer models have been extremely useful for analyzing the biology of pathways involved in cancer initiation, promotion, and progression. Interestingly, several murine cancer models also exhibit heterogeneity, genomic instability and an intact immune system. However, they do not adequately represent several features that define cancer in humans, including long periods of latency, the complex biology of cancer recurrence and metastasis and outcomes to novel therapies. Therefore, additional models that better investigate the human disease are needed. In the pet population, with special references to the dog, cancer is a spontaneous disease and dogs naturally develop cancers that share many characteristics with human malignancies. More than 40 years ago, optimization of bone marrow transplantation protocols was undertaken in dogs and recently novel targeted therapies such as liposomal muramyl tripeptide phosphatidylethanolamine and several tyrosine kinase inhibitors, namely masitinib (AB1010) and toceranib phosphate (SU11654), have been developed to treat dog tumors which have then been translated to human clinical trials. In this review article, we will analyze biological data from dog tumors and comparative features with human tumors, and new therapeutic approaches translated from dog to human cancer.

Related: Cancer Prevention and Risk Reduction

Karyadi DM, Karlins E, Decker B, et al.
A copy number variant at the KITLG locus likely confers risk for canine squamous cell carcinoma of the digit.
PLoS Genet. 2013; 9(3):e1003409 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2015 Related Publications
The domestic dog is a robust model for studying the genetics of complex disease susceptibility. The strategies used to develop and propagate modern breeds have resulted in an elevated risk for specific diseases in particular breeds. One example is that of Standard Poodles (STPOs), who have increased risk for squamous cell carcinoma of the digit (SCCD), a locally aggressive cancer that causes lytic bone lesions, sometimes with multiple toe recurrence. However, only STPOs of dark coat color are at high risk; light colored STPOs are almost entirely unaffected, suggesting that interactions between multiple pathways are necessary for oncogenesis. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on STPOs, comparing 31 SCCD cases to 34 unrelated black STPO controls. The peak SNP on canine chromosome 15 was statistically significant at the genome-wide level (P(raw) = 1.60 × 10(-7); P(genome) = 0.0066). Additional mapping resolved the region to the KIT Ligand (KITLG) locus. Comparison of STPO cases to other at-risk breeds narrowed the locus to a 144.9-Kb region. Haplotype mapping among 84 STPO cases identified a minimal region of 28.3 Kb. A copy number variant (CNV) containing predicted enhancer elements was found to be strongly associated with SCCD in STPOs (P = 1.72 × 10(-8)). Light colored STPOs carry the CNV risk alleles at the same frequency as black STPOs, but are not susceptible to SCCD. A GWAS comparing 24 black and 24 light colored STPOs highlighted only the MC1R locus as significantly different between the two datasets, suggesting that a compensatory mutation within the MC1R locus likely protects light colored STPOs from disease. Our findings highlight a role for KITLG in SCCD susceptibility, as well as demonstrate that interactions between the KITLG and MC1R loci are potentially required for SCCD oncogenesis. These findings highlight how studies of breed-limited diseases are useful for disentangling multigene disorders.

Cekanova M, Uddin MJ, Bartges JW, et al.
Molecular imaging of cyclooxygenase-2 in canine transitional cell carcinomas in vitro and in vivo.
Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2013; 6(5):466-76 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2015 Related Publications
The enzyme COX-2 is induced at high levels in tumors but not in surrounding normal tissues, which makes it an attractive target for molecular imaging of cancer. We evaluated the ability of novel optical imaging agent, fluorocoxib A to detect urinary bladder canine transitional cell carcinomas (K9TCC). Here, we show that fluorocoxib A uptake overlapped with COX-2 expression in primary K9TCC cells in vitro. Using subcutaneously implanted primary K9TCC in athymic mice, we show specific uptake of fluorocoxib A by COX-2-expressing K9TCC xenograft tumors in vivo. Fluorocoxib A uptake by COX-2-expressing xenograft tumors was blocked by 70% (P < 0.005) when pretreated with the COX-2 selective inhibitor, celecoxib (10 mg/kg), 4 hours before intravenous administration of fluorocoxib A (1 mg/kg). Fluorocoxib A was taken up by COX-2-expressing tumors but not by COX-2-negative human UMUC-3 xenograft tumors. UMUC-3 xenograft tumors with no expression of COX-2 showed no uptake of fluorocoxib A. In addition, fluorocoxib A uptake was evaluated in five dogs diagnosed with TCC. Fluorocoxib A specifically detected COX-2-expressing K9TCC during cystoscopy in vivo but was not detected in normal urothelium. Taken together, our findings show that fluorocoxib A selectively bound to COX-2-expressing primary K9TCC cells in vitro, COX-2-expressing K9TCC xenografts tumors in nude mice, and heterogeneous canine TCC during cystoscopy in vivo. Spontaneous cancers in companion animals offer a unique translational model for evaluation of novel imaging and therapeutic agents using primary cancer cells in vitro and in heterogeneous cancers in vivo.

Related: Apoptosis Transitional Cell Cancer of the Renal Pelvis and Ureter PTGS2 Bladder Cancer Bladder Cancer - Molecular Biology

Mordoh J, Tapia IJ, Barrio MM
A word of caution: do not wake sleeping dogs; micrometastases of melanoma suddenly grew after progesterone treatment.
BMC Cancer. 2013; 13:132 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Hormonal treatment might affect the immune response to tumor antigens induced in cancer patients who are being vaccinated.
CASE PRESENTATION: A 33-year-old woman was diagnosed with cutaneous melanoma in May 2009. Her melanoma was located in the intermammary sulcus, had a Breslow thickness of 4 mm, a Clark's level IV, it was ulcerated and highly melanotic. The bilateral sentinel node biopsy was negative. She entered into a randomized Phase II/III clinical study comparing a vaccine composed of irradiated melanoma cells plus BCG plus GM-CSF versus IFN-alpha 2b and she was assigned to the vaccine arm. During the two years treatment she remained disease-free; the final CAT scan being performed in August 2011. Between November and December 2011, her gynecologist treated her with three cycles of 200 mg progesterone/day for ten days, every two weeks, for ovary dysfunction. In November 2011 the patient returned to the Hospital for clinical and imaging evaluation and no evidence of disease was found. At the next visit in March 2012 an ultrasound revealed multiple, large metastases in the liver. A CAT scan confirmed the presence of liver, adrenal glands and spleen metastases. A needle biopsy of a liver lesion revealed metastatic melanoma of similar characteristics to the original tumor. We suggest that progesterone treatment triggered proliferation of so far dormant micrometastases that were controlled during CSF470 vaccine treatment.
CONCLUSION: The use of progesterone in patients with melanoma that are under immunological treatments should be carefully considered, since progesterone could modify the balance of pro-inflammatory and Th1 functions to a regulatory and anti-inflammatory profile of the immune system that could have an impact in tumor progression.

Related: Skin Cancer

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